Gareth Southgate has stated there was never any chance of a World Cup admission for Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling, despite the defender impressing at times for Jose Mourinho this season.

The Three Lions manager has named his squad for the World Cup in Russia, with the England boss stating in November that Smalling was not good enough at playing out from the back.

Southgate's men conceded one goal in their last four international friendlies without Smalling, thus giving the England boss no reason to change such a solid defence.


The Three Lions boss told IRN (via the Mirror): "He's played well for Manchester United. I made the decision in November, we had clean sheets against Germany and Brazil.

"We then played Italy and Holland, so across those four games we've only conceded one goal, so I didn't see any reason to change tack on the defenders we were picking and the way we were playing.


"Chris is a man I respect a great deal, but I think we made that decision in November and I've not seen any reason to change the thinking on that."

There was also no space in the England squad in the near future for Jonjo Shelvey, despite impressing for Newcastle this season.

"We pick on how a player fits our system," Southgate added. "Do they have the attributes to play how we want to play, and does their character and personality fit into the group for the month, eight weeks we want to be away?"

England kick off their World Cup campaign against Tunisia on June 18, before facing Panama six days later and top seeds of the group Belgium on June 28.